January 5, 2009

Blog Year 2008 in Review

The year 2008 on this blog saw over 181,000 visits from nearly 55,000 distinct users. This is the third year in review post I have done, and each time I have seen a drop in my statistics. Last year, I attributed it to less regular carnival submissions and the fact that I hosted a Philosophers' Carnival in 2006, but not in 2007. However, I hosted two carnivals in 2008, and my stats continue to drop.

It has been suggested that over the past two years, I have reached a point at which the majority of the posts on this blog are not accessible to non-philosophers. If this is true, it indicates both (1) that my writing has become more technical, and (2) that I am writing fewer 'non-philosophy' posts. The latter is certainly true. I used to post a lot more about politics and Biblical studies, among other things, than I have recently. As I go through the rest of my stats, let's look at whether this sort of thing might be the reason for the drop - that is, whether posts and topics that are either (1) non-technical or (2) 'non-philosophical' get a preponderance of the hits. I would also be much obliged if any regular readers would comment and tell me what kinds of posts they would like to see and why. Also, if you used to read more regularly than you do now, but happen to see this post, I'd like to know what it was that I was doing before that I'm not doing now.

All this is to say simply that I would like to know why I am getting fewer hits, and do something about it, if there is something within reason to be done. However, to be perfectly clear, I don't write only for others to read. I benefit from getting my thoughts down. Often, when reading a text, I post my first reactions here, and find these first reactions useful when I later go back to write about it for real. So I will continue to do what I am doing now regardless, because it helps me even if no one reads it. Still, if there is something I can add to what I am currently doing which would engender some interest, or if there is an easy change in writing style, or something, I would like to know, and that's why I watch these statistics. And so, without further ado, my 2008 blog statistics:

Most Popular Posts

  1. April 14, 2008: Philosophers' Carnival 67: Idealism. I'm happy to see this one topping the list. In addition to being a good carnival, it included some thoughts of mine on the definition and history of idealism. However, these remarks were very introductory and non-technical in nature.
  2. May 15, 2006: Why Is the NSA Data Mining Operation Bad? This post took the number three spot in 2007 and people still seem to be interested. This is another one I'm glad to see here. This is a case of some applied philosophy, at a fairly introductory level, touching on current events. This last is probably the reason it's here.
  3. May 2, 2006: "Three Persons, One Substance" - Paradox or Solution? In this post I give three interpretations of the traditional "three persons, one substance" vocabulary for talking about the Trinity. This is a pretty substantive post, in my opinion, but it's a theological one, so perhaps it is of more general interest than some of my other philosophical posts. This post rated number 2 in 2007.
  4. March 5, 2006: Rights, Obligations, and Abortion. This post is unmoved from its number 4 position in 2007. This is certainly one of my better posts on libertarianism, and I am also glad to see it up here. Its subject matter is very important to the compatibility of libertarianism with Christian ethics, a matter I discussed again just recently.
  5. May 22, 2007: Kenneth L. Pearce, BA BAS. I'm not at all sure what this post is doing up here. This is a post I put up when I finished my undergrad degree (hence the title) on what I was expecting to be doing in the near future and how it would affect my blogging. Of course, whenever I say I'm going to blog about something, it all but guarantees that I will not get around to it, so my apologies to anyone who was hanging around hoping for any of the things listed here to materialize!
  6. June 26, 2007: Theological Implications and "Scientificness." This is a post I am rather embarrassed to see here. I posted a link to an article which at first appeared to have a very interesting argument, but, upon further reflection and reading the comments was revealed to be a terrible strawman. The rapidity with which my thoughts make it from my head to my blog is the best and worst thing about blogging.
  7. June 2, 2007: GUEST BLOG: Philosophical Implications of Wave-Particle Duality: Part 2. This is the second installment of my lovely wife Lauren's attempt to explain modern physics to philosophers. Several more parts are planned, but 'real life' has intervened. She still hopes to finish the series eventually.
  8. June 12, 2006: Philosophers' Carnival XXXI. The 31st philosophers' carnival took first place in 2007, and third in 2006. I don't know why this carnival continues to pop up here when carnival 77 does not. I suppose it has had the entire year to accumulate hits, which helps. Do a lot of people glance through years-old blog carnivals?
  9. June 10, 2006: The Foundational Argument of Berkeleian Metaphysics. At least we've got one good Berkeley post up here. Although this is a 2006 post, this is it's first top 10 appearance. This post tries to outline, in contemporary terms, the basic line of reasoning that leads to Berkeley's general metaphysical picture. I think I could do better today than I did then, but this is also, I think, rather less technical than my more recent writing.
  10. December 30, 2005: Upgrade to MovableType 3.2. My apologies to all the people who viewed this totally unhelpful post, which simply reported that I had upgraded to MovableType 3.2.

Most Common Searches

  1. kennypearce
  2. kenny pearce. Does the fact that searches for my name are the top two mean that I am becoming more narcissistic, or more famous?
  3. cotton patch bible. The post in question is this one, which merely notes that the Cotton Patch Bible is amusing and available online.
  4. church dogma. Oddly enough, this post is currently ranked second for this search! Nevertheless, it didn't make the top ten most viewed posts. There must not be a lot of people searching for dogma...
  5. philosophy. I don't know how anyone ever managed to find me by searching for just 'philosophy'. I must be dozens, if not hundreds, of pages down on google. Maybe some bad search engine ranks me ahead of a lot of more deserving pages. Hmm...
  6. ambiguity in translation. If you google for "preserving ambiguity in translation," this post comes up first. However, I am not in the first few pages for just "ambiguity in translation". Perhaps I used to be, earlier this year. I haven't written too much about translation recently; maybe I should.
  7. the source new testament. The Source is a translation of the New Testament by Dr. Ann Nyland. I have mentioned it here several times. In the google search, this post is second. Another reason I should perhaps blog about translation issues more.
  8. translation transliteration. This post, which is ranked first on google for this search, started off a long (unplanned) series. I have yet to gather these together into an index. The series discussed places where words have been introduced into the English language by Bible translators transliterating them, and how these words have changed meaning to become problematic.
  9. 1 corinthians 11 10. This post ranks 8th for this search. 1 Corinthians 11 is a very confusing passage.
  10. berkeley. As much as I write about Berkeley, I am glad to see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ahead of me, for the sake, at least, of undergraduates doing research. I actually don't appear on the first few pages.

Top Referrers

  1. Leiter Reports. Professor Leiter links to each Philosophers' Carnival from his immensely popular blog. (Well, it's immensely popular as academic blogs go.)
  2. Philosophy, etc. The blog of Philosophers' Carnival founder Richard Chappell.
  3. The Uncredible Hallq. A philosophy blog.
  4. Possibly Philosophy.
  5. Aaron Weingott. Another philosophy blog.
  6. Better Bibles Blog. A blog about English Bible translations.
  7. Get Religion. An extremely popular blog about mainstream media coverage of religion news. I should note that I have not been so fortunate as to be actually linked from a post here. Evidently people follow links from my comments.
  8. Principia Comica. The blog of the Principia Comica philosophy web comic.
  9. Ban the Ban Wisconsin. My post "Smoking Bans, Private Property, and the Free Market" is the first of a list of "rights-related documents" on a web-site that opposes laws that ban smoking in privately owned establishments.
  10. Think it Over. Yet another philosophy blog.

Tentative Resolution for Blog Year 2009

On the basis of this data, I tentatively resolve to write more posts of the following three types:
  • New Testament translation/interpretation
  • Commentary on current events
  • Philosophy at an introductory level (these should be clearly marked to distinguish them from my usual philosophy posts)
I say tentatively because I would still very much like to have the opinions of my readers as to what types of material would be helpful, informative, entertaining, or whatever it is that you come here looking for. If you have any remarks along these lines, please speak up in the comments. Posted by Kenny at January 5, 2009 12:44 AM
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Comments

How many posts did you do in 2008 compared to 2007? If fewer, that might have something to do with it; lots of people probably come to your blog either through a feed reader or through an aggregator like Tanasije's power blogroll, and that traffic is affected by how often you post. (Also, you were off doing more important things a good month and a half, and that might have an effect, since people drift away over a long hiatus.) But I suspect the reduction in political posts might have had a noticeable effect, and I suspect that an increase in such posts would bring an increase in hits.

I think you should post more, but my taste is toward the philosophical (as you might expect).

Posted by: Brandon at January 5, 2009 2:17 PM

Brandon - Good points. There were 69 posts in 2008, compared with 94 in 2007 and a whopping 131 in 2006. That could have precisely this effect. So perhaps the best thing I could do is simply to post more often.

Here's something that might be interesting. The ratio of hits to posts in 2008 was about 2623:1, whereas in 2007 it was about 2276:1, and in 2006 about 2023:1. I'm not sure how meaningful these statistics are.

Posted by: Kenny at January 5, 2009 3:33 PM

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